Celebrity designer Bibhu Mohapatra has dressed the likes of Sienna Miller, Cate Blanchett and Salma Hayek. But the Orissa-born, New York-based designer is finally returning to his roots, teaming up with weavers from his home state to launch his debut Indian line.
“I met with the Chief Minister and travelled through many villages in Orissa, talking to weavers and artisans there,” he explains, adding, “We will be using about 35 designs, mixing traditional techniques and modern fabrics to create saris, linens, bedspreads and other articles, which will then be sold in India by companies like Bayanika and Sambalpur Vastralaya.”
Ask why it’s taken so long for the artiste, trained by the Fashion Institute of Technology in the US, to make his presence felt at home and he says, “I’ve just had a trunk show at Le Mill in Mumbai to gauge what sort of products work here. It’s too early for me to set up a store, as my company is only three years old. And since New York is where I was trained, I really wanted to pay my dues there.”
Mohapatra is already on a first-name basis with the doyennes of Hollywood, but he’s recently breached the boundaries of Bollywood, and counts Sonam Kapoor and Deepika Padukone as his top style picks. “I’ve sent Deepika a couple of structured dresses, long in the back and short in the front,” he says, before revealing a little of his Bollywood fetish, saying, “If I see Rekha on the streets, I’d probably just die.”